Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Owl Tunic

So, I'm back. Maybe just for one post, maybe for a squillion, who knows. We'll see.....
The reason for my return is this competition from Simplicity patterns. And here is my entry:

I look a little surprised....maybe it's because my mouth has been replaced by a giant flower?
I'm calling it the Owl Tunic, for obvious reasons when you look at the fabric up close. I used the lovely free pattern that Simplicity sent me and decided on view A, as I liked the pleated sleeves. My original plan was to use this fabric to make a muslin and then use a different fabric to make my final entry, but I liked this so much I stuck with it.

Fabric up close in all its feathery glory
The pattern was quite easy to put together and the instructions were clear and detailed. I made a size 10 without any alterations, as I've sewn Simplicity patterns before and a straight 10 usually fits. Next time I would shave a tiny wedge out of the front as my decoletage decolletege deccoletig collar bone area is a bit narrow, and although the neckline sits fine when I'm still, there is a tiny bit of gapeyness when I move around. Otherwise I am very happy with the fit.

I was a good girl and followed the instructions exactly, even understitching the neck facing, which made a big difference.

I must admit, I do love a bit of understitching :)
I'm pleased to say my invisible zip is pretty invisible. I asked Mr Pickledweasel to confirm its invisibleness by looking at the back of the tunic while I tried it on, and he said 'Yes, but you haven't pattern matched.' That's what happens when you let your significant others watch the Great British Sewing Bee. I did try to pattern match, honestly, but my eyes went a bit funny after 5 minutes and I gave in.

Don't look at it too long, it's a bit like one of those Magic Eye books.
The only thing I changed about the pattern was the length. I tried it on un-hemmed and it was just a teensy bit too short for me - something I'd wear with opaque tights and boots, but as this was intended to be a spring / summer outfit for work, that kind of length would involve the Revealing of the Knees of Doom (not a very pretty sight), so I decided to make it into a tunic instead. I took 5" off and then did a 1" blind hem, something I haven't done for ages. I have a blind hem foot for my machine which makes it a doddle, and I love it. It takes a bit more preparation than a standard hem, but it looks great.

My lovely hem. Look, no stitches!
The fabric was from the Magic Fabric shop (yes, it's still going, they're open 6 days a week now instead of just Mondays and Thursdays!) and was £2 a metre. I think I used about 2 metres and the zip cost £3.90, so the total cost was just shy of £8. Not bad, eh?

The front. It's a very good for hiding lumps and bumps by the way :)
The fabric was kind of like a scuba stretch but without the stretch. It was nice to sew with, quite silky on the printed side but still had enough stability not to go crazy when I put it under the presser foot. In terms of time taken, I'd guesstimate 4 hours from start to finish. I cut all of the pattern pieces when I was on holiday last week on the Yorkshire coast, on a lovely big dining room floor in the cottage we were staying in. I'd seen all sorts of birds during the week, so it felt appropriate to be working with feathery material. I am seriously considering sewing up some capes with the leftover bits I have, so the little pickledweasels can pretend to be owls too.

How much do these wings sleeves look like little owl hoods?
Overall I'm very happy with my new owly tunic. I'm pretty sure there is another one in the pipeline, this time with a bit of a tropical theme (and some lengthening so the Knees of Doom won't be involved). So thank you to Simplicity for giving me the chance to take part, and for the pattern, I've loved making it :)

"This'll never work...what am I meant to do with the flower, eat it?"

Saturday, 19 February 2011

It's not you, it's me....

Byeeee!

Good news - I have a pretty new netbook. Bad news - I don't think I want to blog any more.

While I was laptopless I thought at lot about why I blog, and whether it was worth continuing. I don't really feel like I'm contributing anything to the greater good by waffling on about what I'm sewing. I don't really have any technical insights to share, and I can't remember the last time I did a tutorial. I love being part of a crafty community, but I think I can do that without blogging. I love showing off what I've made, but I can do that via Flickr, or Pattern Review. I have limited spare time, and composing and editing blog posts doesn't come top of my priorities list, so I end up feel guilty that I haven't blogged, or guilty that I've spent 2 hours writing a post and taking pictures of it. This is not how it should be.

So this is my last post. It's been fun, and I've met some lovely people along the way. If you want to you can add me to your contacts in Flickr (just search for smallandfurry) or if you're really brave you can email me (pickledweasel at btopenworld.com) and we can facebook each other til it hurts :)

Lots of love,

Pickled Weasel and Munchkin x x x

Monday, 31 January 2011

I am still here, honest.

But my laptop isn't, it's at the laptop hospital being fixed. Although the man said it would take 4-5 days and it's been a week....
So here I am logged onto a public access PC at work. That's how much I love you :)

I have been sewing lots, because I haven't had the interwebs to suck away my time into a big etsy / facebook / pattern review / folksy / generally random searches on Google wormhole.

Munchkin now has two new skirts and a wrap-around top, cut down from a dress I made her a while ago but that she never wore because it looked a bit like a dressing gown. I mended a shirt of mr PW's that had a hole in it, turned one of my dresses into a top and sewed a whole host of buttons back on to various garments.

And I made munchkin a winter coat, cried because the armholes were ridiculously small, cut it up, cried again, went back to the drawing board and am now in the process of making her a button through dress from the redundant coat outer, and drafting a new bigger armholed version using the lining as a template. Sorry there are no pictures, you'll just have to imagine all this :)

Hopefully, I'll be back soon, but now I must leave you and return to my cuppa soup and the remaining 7 minutes of my work break. Laters!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Scandi Skirt

I've actually made a wearable piece of clothing for myself, which looking through my past posts I don't think I've done before, except maybe a neck warmer.


I made clothes for myself when I was doing my stuuuupid college course (I'm never going to mention it again, it was that stupid. I have a certificate saying I passed it but I never learnt how to sew a buttonhole. I may have mentioned this before...), but I wouldn't call them wearable :) For my final project I made an A-line under skirt with an apron over skirt, and this skirt was made using the pattern I drafted for the under skirt.


It's just a basic A-line block from Winifred Aldrich's Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear, and although I drew it up using my measurements in May last year I'm pleased it still fits around my post-Christmas podge :)

I look a little crazy - I can't tell if it's because of the recently blow-dried hair or the overuse of blusher...

The fit isn't perfect, as the darts could sit a little smoother at the back, but I think that's my sewing rather than the pattern. I did take a few photos of it without the cardi on, but blimey my middle has thickened over the last few months, so I'll not be sharing them with you. Because the waistline is quite low it sits on the widest part of my middle, and so definitely needs a long top over it or some sort of cardi to break it up. On the other hand it is remarkably comfy to wear :)



You might remember I made Munchkin a tunic using another version of the fabric, and this has been sitting in my stash waiting for my to gather up the courage to cut it since then. I lined it with some bog standard black polyestery type stuff, which was a bugger to sew but does the job. I've called it the Scandi skirt because the fabric makes me want to go to Stockholm and drink strong coffee and look at art :)


I'm very pleased with my zip skillz - inserted using the method that is in the Sew U book (sew side seam up to where zip will start, change stitch to long stitch and tack all way to waistline. Tape zip to wrong side of seam, topstitch using zipper foot, remove tape and tacking). I sewed the zip just into the outer fabric, and then I made the lining up separately. On the seam where the zip would be, I sewed up to where the zip would start then tacked the rest of the way up. I ironed the seam flat and unpicked the tacking. I then attached the lining to the skirt right sides together, flipped them, topstitched around the waist, and then carefully pinned the lining around the zip and re-topstitched where I had sewn the zip into the outer.


And I've found a brilliant new way to avoid failure when attempting new sewing projects - don't do blog posts announcing to the world what you're going to achieve over the next month / year / decade. Then if you don't finish them / they go horribly wrong / you never even start them, no-one will ever know! Success guaranteed :)



So all you're getting from me is the following statement:
I will be sewing things over the next 12 months. I will tell you about them when I have finished them :D

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Nose Balloons: The Next Big Thing.

I swear, by March everyone will have them.
Normal balloons are just so 2010.
Even those long balloons that make a big weeeeeeeeee noise when you let them go, they're really last season. Munchkin knows it - just look at the disappointment on her face.



I've managed to get hold of a hot-off-the-press photo of the latest trend. The quality isn't great because Mr pickledweasel was laughing so much he couldn't hold the camera still it was at a top secret location, and they were taken using a hidden camera, they're that exclusive.



I know you're dying to get your hands on one, so I'll let you into a little secret. You can buy them online from net-a-porter, or if you're lucky enough you'll be diagnosed with glue ear (a condition so exclusive it's normally reserved for children under the age of 9), and you'll get them on prescription. Remember, you heard it here first!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas is coming, the pickledweasel's getting fat...

I need to stop eating honeyed salted cashew nuts, or I'll not fit into my nice new Christmas skirt tomorrow :( Things are Christmas a-go-go here in the pickledweasel household, despite me having a throat infection and munchkin getting over a stinking cold. We've been making Christmas decorations:


And cards:


And hair slides for Christmas parties:



And the icing on the cake, a man-bag for mr pickledweasel:




We decided to just spend £10 on each other this year (excluding presents for munchkin), as we're a bit short after the loft conversion. The bag came in at about £7.50, although that's kind of cheating because I calculated the cost based on the material used, so the whole yard of the amaaaaaaazing coffee cup fabric cost £6.60, but I've calculated it as £3.30 because I used half a yard. And I'm not including the £8.00 postage because it came from America :D Any ideas what I can make from the leftover half yard?


The denim was an offcut from Abakhan. The slider and the d-ring were actually a bargain - I've yet to find reasonably priced ones online, especially sliders, does anyone have a secret magic website that does bag making haberdashery at sensible prices? Anyway, I found this bag for £1.25 from our local Winners:


And cannibalised it. I'll use the zips and the canvas for a pouch I'm making for my sister-in-law, so it won't have died in vain :) I've not done much more Christmas making, just a hat and snood set for my neice - photos of her modelling it to follow - and I've made a mountain of gingerbread to give to friends and family using this recipe.


So here's wishing you all a very happy Christmas, and hoping you have a lovely day with family and friends. I'll just be on this big comfy chair over here, with a scarf round my neck, a hot toddy and this family sized bag of cashews :) x x x

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Trousers of ginormous warmth.

It's bloomin cold here. It's barely getting above freezing most days, and yesterday morning I opened the curtains to be greeted with the sight of another good few inches of snow. The novelty of winter has definitely worn off, and I'm wishing for rain, which is most unlike me.


Whilst trying to cope with the icicles and the snow flurries, I've realised how few warm 'bottom half' clothes Munchkin has. She has jumpers and tunics a-plenty, all of which can be layered, but all of her trousers and skirts seem alarmingly thin. With this in mind, a few weeks ago I set about making some lined trousers with the brushed cotton I used for her latest tunic.

I bought this pattern last month, with the intention of using it as a stash-buster. I am still a bit scared of commercial patterns, but when I was looking at the back of the envelope I could see that there wouldn't be any techniques involved that I haven't already mastered, and it would just be a case of reading the instructions carefully. I just seem to get my head in a bit of a tizz whenever I sit down with that big piece of paper and read all those technical sewing terms. And then I fold it all back up again and put it back in the packet :)


But this pattern was fine. I made the trousers up with a few alterations - I essentially made two pairs of trousers, one from denim and one from brushed cotton, and then attached them right sides together at the waistband, flipped them wrong sides together, and then topstitched. They came up quite big, but that means they'll probably last until she's about 5 :) I did a pattern review here, so you can read more about it if you want to.


They look a little bit mid-90's, but they're warm and they match lots of nice red tops that Munchkin already has in her wardrobe. I suppose in theory they're reversible, but I imagine someone would report me to social services if I made her wear them with the brushed cotton on the outside :)